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Dark Tales from Gent's Pens

80_ym_deessentence_jkgreensburg.jpg
Art by K. J. Hannah Greenberg 2020

DEE’S SENTENCE

By


Steve Prusky

 

“You're fucked,” the public defender said. “Should have taken my advice and pled guilty. You’re a target now. District Attorney’s zeroed in on you.” Dee’s cell lit up to Mick Jagger howling Monkey Man. She tapped ignore. “Prick bail bond wants my car as collateral.”

“Given your past criminal sheet, you’re lucky the judge didn’t remand you without bail,” the lawyer said.

“I’m not entirely free; got this electronic ankle jewelry clamped to me,” Dee said.

“Twenty-two FTA’s, prostitution, loitering, paraphernalia, vagrancy, public nuisance, plus two previous prison terms, District Attorney's gonna hold your past against you at trial.”

“I been busy, no denying that,” Dee said.

“Now it’s possession and trafficking of a controlled substance; Metro found nearly a kilo of cut coke in your apartment after your arrest.”

“Kiss off six-thousand dollars on that one,” Dee said.

“Then, selling rocks to three different undercover cops in a week. Three counts of possession with intent to sell, and three counts of selling the shit,” the lawyer said. “There’s more: a third felony conviction qualifies you for the ‘Three Strikes Rule,’ Habitual Criminal Act, the Big Bitch, career criminal, twenty-five to life. Add that to your eight felony charges.”

The massive oak double doors to Court Room Three down the hall swung swiftly open. A cuffed and shackled prisoner flanked by two marshals palming their holstered pistol grips shuffled out. All three had just emerged from the convict’s sentence hearing. He hobbled down the arched ceiling hall, his chrome steel ankle chains beating the polished marble floor with wrecking ball gusto. As the condemned man past Dee, he looked in her direction and said, “Hey babe; How ‘bout a conjugal visit later?” The marshal to his left slapped the back of the prisoner’s head and said, “Shut the fuck up, asshole, death row inmates don’t get visits.”

 Dee silently mulled her fate, then said, “They knew. The fucking cops knew about the brick of coke. Some rock fiend bitch snitched on me, set me up,” Dee said.

          Dee shifted to her right hip on the unforgiving pew-style oak bench in the courthouse hall and rested her weight on the other cheek. She crossed her silky sculpted legs. Her black satin mini skirt crept further up her thighs, exposing charms moneyed tricks once emptied their wallets to see.

          “Who knows. Maybe! But you’re still fucked,” the lawyer said.

 “Such bullshit!” Dee said. “Sounds like you’re arguing the DA’s case. Why trust you? You and the DA are on the same payroll, aren’t you? Same team, same game, Right?” She waved her open palm back and forth in his line of sight. “Who’s working for who here?”

 The courtroom opposite Dee’s bench emptied en masse as if the sluice gate of justice opened the flood gate from Hell. Some left smiling, quiet, content, others whimpered regret, the hardened ones mumbled vengeful oaths, the rest stared blank-eyed stunned like a herd of deer trying to flee a busy freeway. Two opposing female lawyers followed last. “My calendar is free the rest of the day,” one said.

“Mine, too,” said the other. “Let’s get a martini and wash down our sins.” Their spiked heels clicked the stone floor loud as driven nails.

          “If the jury finds against you, D.A.’s gonna push each conviction be served consecutive plus the Big Bitch as a kicker after. You’ll serve half your sentence in an unmarked prison cemetery grave.”

“The fucks want to keep the body?” Dee said.

“And your soul,” the lawyer said. “District Attorney won’t deal. Offer up the Mayor, and he still won’t. Truth is if you’re convicted, which the jury’s sure to do, it won’t be for these current charges; rather, their verdict will be a between-the-lines statement condemning you as a liability to society. To them, you’ll be a pulp crime novel they’d rather not read. You won’t be able to charm your way out of this like you do your tricks’.”

“So I’m born again, a Bonnie Parker: Where’s Clyde when I need him?” Dee said.

“Let’s say I’m not on the same payroll as the D.A.,” the public defender said. “Instead, you’re the money: I’d still paint the same bleak picture.”

 “I’m fucked,” Dee said.

* * *

          The dating service she worked for dropped her. Dee had lost the use of her posh high-rise sixth-floor studio apartment. She fell 2 months short on rent, and management changed the lock. Metro detectives and the IRS confiscated all her possessions as evidence on the heroin bust. Her Camaro convertible disappeared too. The bail bondsman drove it now and did not intend to give it back, even if she repaid him the required 10 percent of the three-hundred thousand dollar bail money. She rented a weekly second-floor bug-ridden room at the Liberty motel on Fremont and Eastern—smack alley—in downtown Vegas. Even if she had slipped out of her ankle bracelet often enough to hustle as many tricks as there were roaches in her room, there was no chance she could afford to pay the bondsman back sucking off drunks ten times daily at twenty dollars apiece. She was accustomed to eight hundred dollars per trick before her employer’s cut.

* * *

  The upcoming trial shadowed her last days free. She passed the time dwelling on her scandalous past, her limited prospects in prison, and luring as many tricks as she could from the balcony of her second-floor room before she had to appear.

It was an 80-degree Las Vegas May afternoon, the day before Dee’s trial,  perfect weather to tune up her faded tan. Dee sat on a worn, thin vinyl-covered chair atop the second-floor balcony outside her door. She had slumped back. She clipped her cut off jeans intentionally short, exposing too much of her. She crossed her sculpted legs at the ankles and propped her shoeless feet on the dry rotting wobbly wood rail, protecting her from the world forty feet below. Braless, Dee wore a man’s tight-fitting ribbed white sleeveless undershirt. She had cut a generous V well past the neckline that tapered just below her breasts meant to lure passing tricks to her room. The customized Guinea tee exposed as much of her cleavage as the law allowed. Her erect nipples stabbed the ribbed cotton competing to escape their shroud. Dee twisted the top off a pint of Wild Berry Mad Dog 20/20, flicked the cap over the rail, measured three fingers worth on the bottle, and washed down four Xanax. She lit a primo joint stuffed with industrial-grade Mexican pot laced with stepped-on coke. She drained the Mad Dog and mused, Is this how it ends? Is my life like this coke, stepped on twice?

Dee stood up, grabbed the post securing the wobbly wood rail. She climbed up from the chair onto the flat side of the horizontal two-by-four banister.  The rotting wood verticals supporting her moaned in terror under her slight female frame. She married both feet together, heel to heel, dangling her toes over the edge. She let go of the post and crooned Good night Irene, good night, see you in my dreams, lifted her heels, teetered forward on the balls of her feet to test how far from the brink she was willing to go.


Steven Prusky’s work has appeared in Close to the Bone, A Twist of Noir, In the Gutter and other Webzines.


KJ Hannah Greenberg captures the world in words and images. Her latest photography portfolio is 20/20: KJ Hannah Greenberg Eye on Israel. Her most recent poetry collection is Mothers Ought to Utter Only Niceties (Unbound CONTENT, 2017). Her most recent fiction collection is the omnibus, Concatenation (Bards & Sages Publishing, 2018).

Recently, Hannah’s seventh short story collection was published by Bards and Sages Publishing.

The publisher writes: "Bards and Sages Publishing is pleased to bring readers Walnut Street, our seventh short story collection by KJ Hannah Greenberg. Greenberg’s flair for the peculiar and eclectic shines through in this collection of over fifty flash and short fiction works featuring anthropomorphic starship pilots, angsty authors, strange neighbors, and more."

Walnut Street is available on Amazon:

https://www.amazon.com/Walnut-Street-KJ-Hannah-Greenberg-ebook/dp/B07T4HB9S9/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_1?keywords=kjhannah+greenberg+walnut+street&qid=1561063957&s=gateway&sr=8-1-fkmr0

Volumes One through Five of the KJ Hannah Greenberg Short Story Collection at 50% off the list in an exclusive bundle only at 

https://www.drivethrufiction.com/product/156488/Greenberg-BUNDLE?affiliate_id=51852

In Association with Black Petals & Fossil Publications 2020